2016’s Top Ten Duarte Photos

Hi all! Our Bests & Worsts of 2016s episodes are delayed, due to a number of factors, but mainly I got pneumonia and was too sick to do anything for a long time. Thanks, 2016, for this lovely parting gift. To help fill the gap in Worst Bestsellers land, Kait said she was going to write a blog post about the top 10 best moments of 2016, and I said, good for you but that sounds too exhausting for me to do. (Pneumonia sucks, y’all!)

But I didn’t want to show up to the blog empty-handed, and I figured even in my extremely diminished capacity I could handle a photo roundup of my favorite subject. Here are my top 10 photos of my cat Duarte from 2016. I hope you like them, too. (If not: leave me alone, I’m sick.)

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Ten Good Things About 2016

I’ll fess up: the reason we don’t have the first half of our Best of 2016 booklists up is totally my fault. In the past two weeks, I broke my foot and Renata got pneumonia. On the last possible day we could have recorded part one, Renata had juuuuust about recovered enough to record. I, on the other hand, did Something Stupid with my broken foot and had to spend two hours not moving on the living room couch.

Sorry! But, never fear–I would never leave you without #content on a WBS Monday.

2016 has been a garbage fire of epic proportions. Editor Becca claims that, in her view, every year people say the next year will be the one where the bad things stop and it’s never true. That’s not really my experience. I had a spate of bad years in a row, but generally I go back and forth. 2016 even seemed like it might be a good year for me at the start of it! It’s hard to call it a good year with the way it ended, though, as I’m sure we all can agree :\

That doesn’t mean it was all bad, though. For one thing, we read a lot of good books that you’ll be hearing about in two weeks! But even beyond that, I had good experiences that I’ll remember for a long time. (Would I have given up every single one of these experiences for a different outcome in the election–well. Yes. But that’s another post.) So, for your reading pleasure, in an effort to shine a little light into the last days of 2016, here are my Top Ten Good Things About 2016, in roughly chronological order.

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What the Witch Told Me

The name “The Worst Blog” turned out to be pretty accurate because I have been absolutely terrible at posting here. There have been things I wanted to post about–my first solo backpacking trip, my move, seeing Hamilton–and I’ve mentally drafted posts about those things, and never gotten around to opening up WordPress and writing about them. Partly because of doing all those things, I’ve been lacking in mental energy.

Today, now, I’m tired, but also restless. Like so many of us, I’m feeling scared and disappointed and furious about the outcome of the US Election. Like slightly fewer of us, I took my troubled heart to Salem, Massachusetts, aka Witch City. (Listen: I don’t have time to talk about the heartbreaking irony of a town that killed 20 people for alleged witchcraft turning it into a tourist destination.) A few friends and I had been planning this trip since before the election, and we decided it would be a good way to distract ourselves for awhile. We decided we might get our tarot cards read. I’ve had my tarot read once before (it’s one of the only things I’ve actually posted about on this blog) and I enjoyed the experience. (Side note: it is weird to look back at my post about that experience now! So much of it was about big change, and I’ve had that for sure. I also wrote this: Haha I’m totally fine and not at all worried about the 9 of Spades. *builds blanket fort for the rest of 2016, just for fun and totally not out of irrational fear* I guess I basically had the right idea!)

Also, I never posted an update on this blog after my WTF Are You Doing Post, so ICYMI: I successfully moved to the Boston area and got a great job! But at the time of my last tarot card reading I was preparing to move but hadn’t told too many people yet. But the reading was really reflective of that mindset. Obviously, I was in a very different mindset when I got my reading this week.

Anyway, again, I’m not saying I necessarily believe anything mystical is happening with the cards, but it’s a fun, self-reflective exercise. Kind of like a combination of a BuzzFeed quiz and a non-licensed therapist.

Salem has no shortage of tarot card readers and any other manner of psychics, witches, and mystics. Like good millennials, we looked up Psychics and Astrologers on Yelp, but since pretty much every place had at least 4 stars and we didn’t really know how to judge the reviews, I decided we should just visit a few places and judge by ~vibe~. (And also cost: the places with the most famous readers charge upwards of $100 per sesh, and we were not about that life.) The first place we went to, I rejected because the reader who was in was a man, and I don’t want any men telling me my secrets. The second place I rejected because the person at the desk seemed extremely uninterested in us and also it smelled weird. The third place advertised that Katy Perry had done a love spell there, and also they did a fundraiser for the animal shelter and blessed all the animals with magic, so obviously we went there. (It was Crow Haven Corner, although we did not meet with Lorelei, but rather one of her less-experienced budget witches.)

She asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted to know about, and I said I was feeling generally panicked about the state of the world and wanted advice on how to proceed. First, she had me shuffle one deck and pick one card that would represent my ~theme~ for the year.

Tarot Card - Grace

I got Grace, which she told me was about accepting things I can’t control. WITCH, PLEASE

I mean it’s maybe good advice for my personal wellbeing but also, obviously, not quite what I wanted to hear; I wanted the card for setting the world on fire. But I suppose accepting the things I really can’t change with grace gives me more mental energy to devote to the things I can change. #SerenityNow

Anyway, after I picked one card out of that deck, she did a Celtic Cross reading with a different deck.

Tarot Card Spread

 

The first card I got was the Moon, which is apparently about reflection and confusion and mystery. A LITTLE TOO ON THE NOSE, CARDS.

I don’t totally remember the order everything else came in; I do remember the Queen of Wands represents motherhood. She asked if I wanted to become a mother, and I said NOPE, and she said I had better be careful about birth control then because I’m very fertile and there’s a spirit near me that wants to come into the world? (It’s probably Duarte though.) Also, maybe I’ll change my mind about motherhood when I’m in a good relationship. SURE. She also said the Queen of Wands means I make good decisions, which I obviously do, which is how I ended up a tarot card reading on a weekday afternoon.

When the Lovers came up, she asked if I’d met anyone recently, or started a new job. (No and yes.) She told me both that I either had recently or would soon meet someone who would be a good ~love connection~ for me, and also that I would have a good partnership at work. (The second one is definitely true!)

The 8 of Pentacles means a period of hard work; she described myself as planting seeds in the ground that would pay off later. I also got the 8 of Wands which is also about working and planning. I also had a lot of Wands which in general is about creativity and determination. Specifically she told me I should do more graphic design work? Which I never told her what my job is but I had just had multiple conversations with co-workers about doing more flyers and Tumblr graphics at the library…so that was weirdly on target.

What else…she said my last relationship ended because the man wasn’t mature enough for me, which I think is true, but also is probably true of like 90% of man-woman relationships, like you could just stand on the street corner and tell that to random women and you’d only be wrong if they don’t date men.

Also at the end of it, she asked me to please write a good review on TripAdvisor because she could tell I was a good writer, which made me laugh so much. But also: I will. I will do that.

Anyway, it was a fun, reflective experience that left me feeling somewhat invigorated about the days to come! The overall combined takeaway, for me, is a combination of accepting the things I can’t change with grace, and working hard to change the things I can. The second part is where I need to put in my work, of course–the tarot card reader didn’t really tell me anything specific on how I can un-fuck up the world, but, you know, that’s on me. Right now I’m reading widely, and listening, and signing up for local community justice lists to make sure I hear about protests and other opportunities to effect change. I’m setting up recurring donations to causes that are important to me. I’m making sure that I’m working to make my library a safe place for all of our community members.

Also I bought this spell candle because it’s worth a try, right?

spell candle

I hope you are all doing as okay as possible, and doing whatever kind of magical or Muggle self-care you need to do to carry on and keep doing the work!

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Get Your Shit Together August: Behavioral Health Treatment

And we’re back for week three of Get Your Shit Together August! Today’s post is maybe not applicable to everyone personally, but is certainly applicable to at least one person you know, even if you’re SUPER well-adjusted. (If you are: what’s that like? Please tell me.) Today we’re talking about anti-depressants and behavioral health therapy.

Now, straight off the bat, here’s a disclaimer: I’m not a therapist. I’m not a doctor. I work in this field, but I’m not licensed and I’m gonna be talking about things very generally here, but in no way is this advice from A Medical or Behavioral Healthcare Professional. Okay? Okay.

When I was in high school, I went from being at the top of my class in almost all of my classes to struggling very hard to keep up with work. To be honest, I had struggled a little in middle school, too, frequently doing homework on the bus or at lunch because I just couldn’t make myself focus when I was at home. High school was more work, though, and it became harder for me to fit in everything I needed to do before school and during lunch. I was tired all the time and spent my after school hours taking long naps instead of doing my homework. I felt heavy and overwhelmed and I couldn’t say why or how or when it started. Finally, in my junior year, it caught up to me–my academic and personal issues combined for a perfect storm of mental catastrophe. I had to take a math class–my worst subject–with a teacher who was terrible. And, let me tell you this, I was never one of those kids who hated and bad mouthed any teacher I didn’t agree with. I understood teaching was hard, and that even if I didn’t like a teacher personally, they were probably doing their difficult job pretty well. This teacher? This was a bad teacher. I had never before wished harm on another person, but when she broke her hip halfway through the year, I actually thought, “Dear god, please let her be out for the rest of the year.”

Anyway, the point is, I got a D in her class the second or third marking period of that year. I had never gotten below a B- on a report card up to that point and my parents were livid. I broke down when they confronted me, had hysterics, literally ran out of the house and called a friend with a car to come pick me up. My parents eventually came and got me, apologized for yelling, and started to gently ask how I was feeling and how long I had been feeling that way.

I am extraordinarily lucky. I have always had a good relationship with my incredibly understanding parents. There’s a history of mental illness in my family and they weren’t judgmental at all about getting me into therapy and eventually getting me on medication. I had some amazing teachers to balance out that one rude math teacher, including an English teacher who literally changed the curriculum to fit my needs. Everyone around me me was willing to cut me some slack. Except, of course, for me.

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Get Your Shit Together August: Bullet Journal

Welcome back to Get Your Shit Together August! I hope you found last week’s post helpful! This week’s is obviously up a little later in the day, and that’s because, in true shitshow fashion, I did not take my photos last night and didn’t realize until I went to post them that I needed to black out some of the work information. WHOOPS. Which is a good reminder that this series is about trying to get your shit together if you’re a shitshow, and your shit will never truly be as together as you wish. That’s just life, tragically.

Anyway, I’m sure that bullet journaling is old news to most of you. It’s been scientifically proven* that 99.9%** of our listenership are librarians, aspiring librarians, librarian spouses, librarian BFFs, ex-librarians, library ghosts, three libraries in a trenchcoat, cardigan salesmen, etc, and librarians are notoriously Ahead of the Organizational Times. My library bros have been talking about bullet journaling for months, maybe years. When Renata and some other Twitter bros started doing it, I googled it out of curiosity and was immediately overwhelmed by the website, unable to entirely grasp what the process was like or how it could be helpful to me. I put it out of my mind, and it stayed there until this spring/summer when Kelly Sue DeConnick and the Bitches Get Shit Done group started to pick up the habit.

Kelly Sue started to keep a bullet journal and started occasionally tweeting and tumbling about it. Again, I looked at it and felt totally overwhelmed and put it out of my mind. But it was Kelly Sue AND a lot of office supplies seemed to be involved AND all my friends were starting to dip their toe in the water AND I’m a sheep desperate to be liked, so I decided to try again. Having already perused the website and come away with little-to-no useful information, I turned to google. I managed to find a few blogs that went into detail about how and why bullet journaling can be helpful and began to suspect that it might be the sort of thing I needed to add some organization to my mess of a life.

So, What Actually Is a Bullet Journal?

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Get Your Shit Together August: Bitches Get Shit Done

I’m a person who’s struggled with organization my entire life. I remember being in third grade and desperately wishing I wasn’t too much of a goody-two-shoes to forge my mother’s signature on my assignment pad. While I had completed my assignments, I had done it from memory and forgotten to have her sign  the actual book. As I grew up and clinical depression started to eat holes in my memory, I started missing assignments or forgetting assignments, and went from being a perfect, straight-A student to a person who got straight As on tests and mandatory Cs on my late homework. Sure, this dip in grades helped the adults around me identify and diagnose my depression, but that diagnosis didn’t make it any easier to organize and stay on top of my life.

I’m in my thirties now, working an office job, doing a podcast, and writing in my spare time. I have a jam-packed social calendar (trying to schedule hangouts with me has become the epitome of “it’s so hard being pretty and popular!”) and a miniscule amount of free time. I’m still a hopeless mess, but I’m starting, finally, to come up with strategies to get that mess under control. I’m going to turn this month into Get Your Shit Together August and talk about a few of them, from the perspective of a scatterbrained, messy nerd in hopes that other scatterbrained, messy nerds will see that there’s hope, even for them. My life might not be perfectly organized and neat and logical, but, hey, I’m paying my bills on time and that’s not nothing.

Bitches Get Shit Done

One of the first steps in organizing my life and attempting to get my shit together was nearly completely inadvertent. In January 2014, I signed up for Kelly Sue DeConnick’s text-based reminder system, Bitches Get Shit Done, or #bgsd. I did it sort of on a lark—I figured the people who would get the most use out of it would be people who had school deadlines or were working on big creative projects. I have a desk job. A small child could probably do the same work just as easily as I do. It would be cute to get the messages, but I figured they wouldn’t necessarily apply to me.

Oh boy. What a simpler time that was.

But let me back up for a second. While I’m sure 99.99999% of our listenership know who Kelly Sue is, for the remaining .00001% of you, she is a writer (primarily of comic books), business owner, mom, KISS fan, Mama Shark, and in the ranks of Mallory Ortberg and Lin-Manuel Miranda when it comes to imaginary Twitter BFFs. I could go into all of the ways she’s important to me, personally, but I already did that once and accidentally-on-purpose made her cry in public, so just know that she’s someone you should Be Aware Of if you aren’t already.

A few years back, comic book writer and trash of the thing Chris Sebela jokingly agreed to having Kelly Sue periodically text him to nag him to get his work done. It wasn’t a joke and she made good on the threat. After tweeting about it, lots of people expressed interest in having her nag them to get work done, so the Bitches Get Shit Done list was born. It’s a text-based “shotgun blast nagging,” in Kelly Sue’s words–set up through the Remind101 service, a mass text goes out a few times a week with anything from inspirational quotes to firm entreaties to close tumblr and start working to tips on organization and productivity.

It is, for reasons I can’t quite nail down, extraordinarily helpful. Despite the monotony of my work, sometimes I do need that kick in the butt, and despite the fact that the messages come during the 9-5 work day, a lot of them stick with me hard enough that they’re still in my mind when it comes time to open my own creative endeavors at the end of the day. It’s just the right mixture of firm nagging and gentle understanding that creating is hard, achieving your goals is hard, and frequently you’re your own worst enemy. It’s a balance that I’ve been looking for a long time. I do need someone to occasionally glance over my shoulder and nudge me to focus and remind me that I have deadlines and warn me that the only way to get the thing done is to do it. But I also need the reminder to breathe and drink water and take my time and put myself first. I need the nagging, but without the “everyone can do anything they set their mind to, just push through, you’re the only thing holding yourself back from greatness” motivational speaker style encouragement. BGSD is realistic, or at least, realistic to my life. It reflects my attitude, my sense of humor, and the kind of world I want to live in. It’s not a lofty organizational method, it’s not a zen-like lifestyle change, it’s a push to make whatever progress you’re able and encouragement to feel good about that, no matter how small it is

Also, I think Kelly Sue has secret cameras in my cubicle because, goddamn, those messages usually come when I need them the most.

But really, the thing that might be at the heart of the success of BGSD is Kelly Sue herself. The texts feel like they’re coming from a mentor or a friend, from someone who wants you to do your best and really cares about the outcome. More than once I’ve made myself close Two Dots and get working because I didn’t want to let Kelly Sue down by slacking off. She’s not my mom or my boss–I’m a stranger on the internet. Was she going to read my contract report? No. (Is upper management even going to read my contract report? Probably not, let’s be real.) But that lingering sense of something not unlike loyalty keeps me on task, at least for a few minutes, at least long enough to check something off my 2do list.

Does any of this sound at all appealing or helpful to you? Well, you’re in luck—BGSD subscription is always open. To sign up for your very own nagging texts, text @bitchesg to (971) 244-8342. (Standard text changes apply, etc etc) To read a little bit more about the origin of BGSD, check out this post on Kelly Sue’s tumblr. And to get in on the action on Twitter, check out the #bgsd and #bgsdlist hashtags.

And that’s it for today, folks—the first step in sort of kind getting your shit together. Next week: bullet journaling, which is actually WAY less complicated than the bullet journal website wants you to think!

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#Hogwarts4Ham

There’s a strong possibility that this will be the most controversial thing I have ever posted on the internet.
I’ve been blogging in some form or another since the late ’90s. In my youth, I wasn’t above getting into angry political fights in comment sections. I had an active Facebook account during the 2004 primaries and went to a college known for having one major, campus-wide controversy each semester.

And yet, here we are.

I am going to sort the Hamilton characters into Hogwarts houses.

This is a dicey proposition for multiple reasons. For one, this podcast and its listeners exist in a larger internet social group of book people that sorts characters for fun pretty regularly. For another, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, King Nerd of the Nerds, certainly has capital-I-Ideas about what houses these characters should be in, even if he won’t share them with the public. And, of course, sorting in and of itself is based on so many subjective qualities that any answer given for any character can be disputed with an alternate interpretation of the text.

Let’s visit the larger issues with sorting for a moment, along with some issues particular to this case:
1) Age – In Harry Potter, characters are sorted into their houses at eleven years old. There’s a lot to be said about the things about your personality that are steadfast and unchanging, but let’s be real–no one is the same person they were at eleven. When I was eleven, my social anxiety/shyness led me to believe I was the world’s biggest introvert who never wanted to be around people, despite spending all my spare time either hanging out with my local friends or chatting on the internet with my far away friends. I clung to that identity–the broody loner who wasn’t like other girls–very strongly. I imagined my whole future based on those assumptions about myself. AS IT TURNS OUT, I’m a chatty type-a leader who needs human contact to get through the day. Surprise!

Which is all to say, unless we’re sorting middle grade characters or characters whose journey we’ve followed for quite a while, we’re already using a different set of characteristics to sort than the hat would be if these characters actually found themselves at Hogwarts. In this case, though we get a little background about Alexander Hamilton’s youth in the opening number of the musical, we’re mostly working with men and women in their early twenties through late forties. Who knows if the Alexander at eleven would have been sorted the same way as Alexander at twenty-two?

2) Good/Evil Dichotomy – There is a tendency, in people who don’t spend as much time thinking about this as you, reader who’s already made it this far, for Gryffindor to be equated with good guy, Syltherin to be equated with bad guy, Ravenclaw to be equated with nerd, and Hufflepuff to be equated with cheerful idiot. All of this is, of course, incorrect. I know it. You know it. Whether JK Rowling knows it is up for debate, but the point is that all of the Hogwarts House traits are admirable in their own way and all of the houses have their flaws. It’s important to look past that when sorting, but many non-fannish types, major media outlets doing this for kicks, and casual fans can’t seem to do that. Your protagonist isn’t always a Gryffindor. Your antagonist isn’t always a Slytherin.

3) Interpretation – As I mentioned above, the defining traits of the Hogwarts houses are all present in all of us to some degree or another. No fully developed character is a cardboard cutout that is only ambitious or only loyal, with no other personal motivations. This means that interpretations of what a character’s strongest trait is are very objective. You can probably find evidence in the text to argue one way or another about many of the houses and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong; it all comes down to what particular things about that character you value above the rest.

4) Personal Preference – Sometimes we want our faves–or at least the characters we over-identify with–to be in our house. Simple as that.

And, specific to this sorting:
5) Historical vs. Literary – Lin-Manuel took a lot of liberties with timelines, events, and characters in order to turn Hamilton’s life into a condensed, three hour biography with a coherent narrative. Some bits of characters/historical figures’ personalities suffered from that. For instance–Margarita Schuyler was, by all accounts, kind of a badass in real life. In the musical, she takes a decidedly more timid role. John Laurens was, pardon my French, a total reckless shithead. The music as we hear it glosses over that somewhat (although I will say that seeing the show live, a lot of Laurens’ more reckless nature comes through in the staging). Historical Hercules Mulligan seems to have been something of a braggart and cheerful opportunist. Musical Hercules Mulligan acts exactly like you’d think a guy named Hercules Mulligan would act.

I’m going to focus on sorting the characters based on their musical personalities/arcs, but I can’t promise a little of their historical counterparts won’t shine through.

So, with all that out of the way, let’s get to the part you’ve been waiting for. I eagerly await your refutation in the comments:
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OMG RENATA WTF ARE YOU DOING?

Hello, here is a life update: IDK WTF I am doing!

For most of the last year I have been making elaborate plans to:

  • Quit my job in June
  • Temporarily move back in with my parents
  • Hike the 200-mile John Muir Trail in July–a multi-week endeavor whose timing would be difficult if not impossible to do while employed as a youth services librarian, where summer reading club requires all hands on deck
  • Find a job and move to Boston, possibly in reverse order

However, the friend who I’d been planning to hike the JMT with just canceled on the trip due to health concerns. Although I have been preparing physically, mentally, and legally (*Yosemite’s permit system is wild) for the trip for a long time, I don’t feel comfortable making that hike on my own. But I have already put in notice at my job and ended my lease on June 30, so in July I’m doing something. What? Who knows, man. If you are ISO adventure this summer please hit me up. Otherwise I might settle for a shorter, less mountainous backpacking trip on my own. Baby Cheryl Strayed steps.

Here are some questions you might have for me and their answers, to the best of my abilities:

OMG you quit a job with benefits with nothing lined up afterwards?! In this day and age?

Yep. And I love my job! And I love my coworkers! But I moved here right after grad school just because it was the first job I got offered, and it’s increasingly obvious that I don’t want to live in this location permanently, even though I have enjoyed my time here and met some extremely lovely people here! This is the longest I’ve lived any place since college and it feels like time to move on.

Also, I have been applying for jobs in Boston sporadically and been told by multiple people that public libraries in the Boston area are generally only interested in local candidates. So I’m hoping that if I make myself a local candidate, I’ll find something! I’m a very qualified, great librarian! And if not: I am a marginally competent cashier! I’ll find something! I have savings I can live off of and a Peace Corps-instilled low standard of living. If you are hiring in the Boston area please let me know!

Why Boston?

I haven’t lived on the east coast for an extended period of time before! A lot of my dearest friends live in Boston and I miss them! As a Broadway-obsessed soul I find the idea of being a bus-trip away from New York City very appealing!

When, exactly, are you moving?

My lease in Indiana is up June 30th so I’ll be out of here by then. As to when I’ll move to Boston–that’s a bit more up in the air. My dear parents have expressed flexibility regarding my (and Duarte’s) stay with them. I’ll be looking for jobs and roommates and I’ll be aiming to be out there in August.

Can I help you?

Sure: if you know people looking for roommates or librarians in the Boston area, starting around August, please put them in touch with me! Or just put some good vibes for me in your prayers/on your vision board.

This all sounds like a terrible idea.

a) that’s not a question and b) that’s fine, just keep that kind of talk behind my back, thanks! I know this decision might sound rash and stupid but it is something I have been thinking about and planning for a long time! Even if the plans have already altered significantly from my dreams, I am still excited for this next adventure.

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Not Artsy? Let Patrons Make Your Bulletin Boards For You

My fellow teen librarian Ruth and I are good at a lot of stuff! Totally good at stuff! But we’re not great at arts or crafts. That became something of an issue when our teen area moved into a new, larger space that came with a huge bulletin board area. It’s so big that it looks silly left empty, or used for just a couple of small posters like our old bulletin board. This one requires a full-on bulletin board. We tried, but honestly… we were not very good at the art of bulletin board. Our first few attempts looked pretty amateurish.

I don’t have pictures of our first few bulletin boards but you can imagine the bulletin board equivalent of this:

You Tried

Then, when winter reading club rolled around, we decided to make big review slips for kids to fill out. We’d post them (assuming they gave us permission–there was a spot on the review for them to allow us to post their review) along with a printout of the book cover.

Winter Reading Club

Winter Reading Club 2

Oh, also, we had teen volunteers cut out those snowflakes for the border. BAM: a fun project for all those kids who put off their required volunteer hours until the last minute and a seasonal decoration.

The posted reviews turned out to be really popular! Patrons loved looking to see what others had read, as well as finding their own reviews. It was interesting as staff to see the accumulated reviews too, because it really does show that our teens are reading all kinds of stuff, not just the most popular authors of the moment.

Unfortunately, winter reading club eventually ended, and we had to take down our beloved bulletin board and figure out some other way to fill that huge space.

You Must Choose!

You Must Choose 2

We asked ourselves, “What’s happening in the pop culture universe?” and came up with the Batman vs Superman movie. Also, we had recently learned how to use the Cricut machine. (Kind of? If you’ll notice, I accidentally used lowercase S’s and O’s but was not willing to recut them.) We came up with this concept where patrons could choose a shape, write their name on it, and cast a vote for their fave. The cute animal shapes + gritty DC superheroes mixture is a bit random, but it entertained us. Plus, it encouraged patrons to interact with us. (This is a picture from shortly after we posted it. In the end I believe Batman won, although it always stayed pretty close between him and Wonder Woman. I was actually on vacation when this got taken down so I don’t have a picture of the end result.)

Now it’s March, so… March Madness! This isn’t an original idea; I’ve definitely seen other schools/libraries do a book/author March Madness display on Pinterest and the like. But it’s the first year we’ve had a good space for it.

March Madness

We picked 8 prose book authors/series and 8 manga/graphic novel series. Sort of randomly–we didn’t look at circ stats or anything, we just thought about what we knew was popular and tried to pick a good balance of things. Ruth printed out the logos and ballots for voting. (I did the cricut letters and this time I learned the difference between the capital and lowercase letters!) We just put this up at the beginning of March so voting is still open for the first round. My hope is for Harry Potter to take it but I think Attack on Titan and Deadpool have a good shot at going all the way too. We’ll see at the end of March!

Anyway, I mostly wanted to share this because most of the displays that get shared online are beautiful perfect works of art. I applaud those! But also if you’re not that good at bulletin boards, it’s okay friend. It’s okay. Make your patrons do it for you and get back to doing all the other library work you gotta do.

Plus, it will give patrons–especially in our case teens–ownership over their library!

Michael Scott Win-Win-Win

 

 

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What the Tarot Card Reader Told Me

Last weekend, my book club had a tarot card reader come to our meeting and have sessions with each of us. I’d been excitedly talking about it, and a lot of people were curious about it. So I thought I’d post about it. (Plus: this way I can keep track of the predictions.)

So, first of all: am I a ~believer~ in psychics and tarot cards and the like? I think I can best characterize my feelings thus:

I Want to Believe

I have a mild interest in ghosts, psychics, and the like. I’ve been on at least three ghost tours in my life. I know most of this stuff is definitely fake, but it’s fun. And who am I to say that all of it is fake? I think everyone, myself included, knows at least one seemingly well-adjusted person who is 100% sure they have experienced a real ghost. Who am I to say they’re definitely lying?

Also, this tarot card reader is someone we know from her storytelling at our local The Moth storyslams, and she explains that the tarot and other readings are about identifying patterns and putting your own narrative to them. That makes sense to me! And I already knew she was a good storyteller, so I figured I’d be in for an entertaining session even if it was completely inaccurate. I’m not necessarily going to make any big lifestyle changes based on my tarot card reading, but it was a nice chance to reflect on my current life situation.

My Tarot Card Reading

Here’s my tarot card spread! It was done with regular playing cards, which I knew was a thing because Gambit from the X-Men does it sometimes. Here’s a random website about it if you’re curious. I don’t remember all the details of what each card means but here are some general things:

  • The diamonds are about money. If you’ll notice, my first four cards were all diamonds and she told me some pretty specific things that were true… three of diamonds means a raise or promotion, and I had just received a small (but appreciated) raise at work. The Ace of Diamonds is specifically about contracts and legal documents and that I should be careful with my taxes this year… I had just been thinking about how Worst Bestsellers made a small (but appreciated!) amount of money this year and I’m not sure how to deal with that, tax-wise.
  • Spades are about “digging deep”. (I see some other websites categorize spades as “warning”, eek.) She told me that I’m at the end of a 9-year cycle and that this year of my life should be about evaluating things and discarding things that aren’t working for me. (Very Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. That’s actually a process I started last year but stalled out on, and have definitely been meaning to finish KonMari-ing my apartment. Guess this year is the year to do it!)
  • The four of hearts means a journey, and according to my tarot card reader, the Ace of Spades means Cancer, which is one of my birth signs. (I’m a Gemini-Cancer cusp.) She told me that those 2 cards in combination suggested that I push myself out of my comfort zone by traveling, since Cancer is traditionally a homebody sign. This is very true for me, particularly with the backpacking trip my friend Anna and I are planning for this spring. (Also, some of these other tarot card/playing card websites I’m looking at now say King of Hearts is Cancer, but hey, I’m not an expert, and whatever it is, the meaning she derived rang true to me.)
  • Jack of Spades means change, which goes along with the theme of discarding things that aren’t working for me.
  • I don’t really remember the top three cards. Doing some googling now, I see that the 9 of Spades is widely considered a super unlucky card, which was definitely not mentioned to me. WHAT IS SHE HIDING FROM ME. I mean, I’d say it’s probably because our tarot card reader was very chill and into spinning the reading as an opportunity for reflection and evaluation and there’s not much point in telling someone about their possible upcoming bad luck. Anyway, there’s no way to control luck, so it’ll come or it won’t, I guess!
  • Haha I’m totally fine and not at all worried about the 9 of Spades. *builds blanket fort for the rest of 2016, just for fun and totally not out of irrational fear*

Also afterward she addressed us as a group and said that we had a way higher than normal number of zodiac cusparians in our group and that could explain why we’re all drawn together! Our friendship is written in the stars.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun and genuinely got some good food for thought from my first tarot card reading. If any of you reading this are local-ish to Louisville, KY, let me know and I will happily give you her name because I definitely recommend her services.

 

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